When you’re sending people on a 100 million-ish mile round trip to our nearest planetary neighbor, you’re going to need to bring along a lot of stuff with you. Preferably stuff that won’t run out of gas, degrade, or otherwise break down easily when the nearest Wal-Mart is millions of miles away. To develop the new innovations required to make the trip, NASA is sort of turning an old trend on its head. Whereas thousands of technologies developed by NASA for the trip to the Moon eventually trickled down into the public’s hands — like Velcro, and Tang — NASA is looking to kick-start some public sector earth tech that it can in turn acquire and put to good use in exploring a little further out into our solar system.
From Ars Technica:
NASA is focusing in particular on technologies that address the effects of radiation exposure, inadequate nutrition, bone fracture, or heart health. They’re also requesting ideas for routine surveillance. To be suitable for space, proposed solutions have to be operable in a remote setting without a doctor or lab around. They must rely on solar power only and cannot work off gas or use consumables that degrade, according to MedCityNews.
Virtually all of this could, of course, have seriously beneficial earthbound applications, from remote medicine to everyday accidents to new, more efficient power systems. Grants of between ten and twenty thousand dollars will be handed out to develop these technologies (NASA will match funds with another investor), and applications are due by July 22nd for an August winner announcement. Should the development bear fruit, NASA will purchase the tech in a deal separate from the grant that kick-started it.
Given the interest in and initial success of the 3D food printer concept, I can’t wait to see what comes out of this.
Via: [Ars Technica]